Rochester chronology

Page 4


In 1980, the site occupies 2.3 million square feet on 545 acres, and employs 6,000 employees. Its mission is the development and manufacture of general purpose systems and general terminal and storage systems. The Rochester product line includes: IBM System/32; IBM System/34; IBM System/38; disk storage devices; head and disk manufacturing; and reconditioning of card input/output and bank proof machines and optical character readers.

Jan. 10
GSD announces the IBM 5280 distributed data system -- a new low-cost product family to enter data into larger computers, communicate data and process data on the spot. It was developed in Rochester and is manufactured both in Toronto, Ontario, and Vimercate, Italy.

The division also announces major enhancements to the IBM System/38, including increased storage capacity, and a new Series/1 Event Driven Executive Energy Conservation System.

The last IBM 3881 optical mark reader is shipped (to a customer in Puerto Rico).

Feb. 6
GSD introduces the IBM 5120 computing system, IBM's lowest priced computing system at the time.

Robert Friesen is named lab director, succeeding Tashjian.

Construction crews begin removing the blue curtain walls installed when the site was constructed.

Jun. 17
GSD announces enhancements to the IBM 5520, including files processing and new arithmetic functions.

Jul. 1
GSD begins first customer shipments of the IBM System/38.

Aug. 4
Development and manufacturing of GSD products is assumed by the new IBM Information Systems Division (ISD), while GSD retains responsibility for U.S. marketing and service and worldwide responsibility for market requirements of those products. As a result, Rochester becomes an ISD site.
 The site removes the automated continuity SLT/SMS raw card tester and replaces it with a newer, more efficient machine.
 The last IBM 519 document originating punch is reconditioned. The 519 was one of the first products built in Rochester, following its transfer in 1957.



 William C. (Bill) Lowe is named general manager, succeeding Martin.
William C. (Bill) Lowe is named general manager, succeeding Martin.

Individualized Work Schedules are implemented.

The site encompasses approximately 2,576,000 square feet.

The IBM Customer Service Division is maintaining a research and development organization in Rochester.
The Integrated Technology Laboratory opens in Rochester.


Jul. 8
IBM announces the IBM 5291 Model 1 display station and the 5292 color display station, both of which had been developed by the IBM System Products Division (SPD) Rochester lab, and are manufactured for worldwide distribution in Toronto, Ont., and Vimercate, Italy.

Nov. 4
Plans are announced to consolidate worldwide manufacturing of ferrite heads -- then performed in Berlin, Mainz, San Jose, Boulder and Rochester -- at SPD's Rochester plant.
 The IBM National Marketing Division maintains a marketing support center in Rochester to support the IBM System/34, IBM System/38 and the IBM 5280.
 The Rochester lab develops the 21ED hard disk file, IBM 5291 display station and IBM 5292 color display station.


May 16

IBM introduces its System/36, which combines data processing, word processing, business color graphics and office management functions in a low-cost, easy-to-use computer system. SPD's Rochester lab had developed the IBM System/36 and it is manufactured both in Rochester and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Nov. 30

The Low-End Storage independent business unit (IBU) is formed. Based in Rochester, Minn., the unit is responsible for the development and manufacture of low-cost storage products, primarily direct access storage devices, used in both IBM and other equipment manufacturers' products. David L. Riegel is named as the IBU's first general manager, reporting to the general manager of the System Products Division's Rochester site.

 The Rochester lab develops the IBM System/36 5360 system unit, IBM 5292 color graphic display, IBM 3180 display station, IBM 4980 display station and 10SR hard disk file.


The Rochester lab develops the IBM System/36 5362 system unit and IBM System/38 5382 system unit.


Rochester is the largest SPD site, with well over 7,000 employees. It is responsible for the development and manufacture of small and intermediate systems -- the IBM System/36 family and the IBM System/38 -- and low-end storage products and related programming.

The company introduces the IBM System/36 PC, which was developed and is manufactured in Rochester. The new arrival fits into a PC/AT-sized box because it uses the 5.25-inch hard disk, built by Rochester's Low End Storage independent business unit.

A new manufacturing building is completed on the site.

The Rochester lab develops the IBM System/36 5364 system unit and 0667 hard disk file.


The Rochester lab and plant continue to be part of the System Products Division (SPD).

May 30
IBM delivers its 100,000th System/36 (to Continental Insurance's headquarters in New York City). The midsize machine had been built by SPD in Rochester. The IBM System/36 is in its third year in the product lineup, and is being manufactured in Rochester; Guadalajara, Mexico; Fujisawa, Japan and Santa Paloma, Italy.

Jun. 16
IBM introduces new products to the SPD lineup, including the new IBM System/36 5360 Model D; enhancements to the System/36; six new IBM System/38 models (such as the high-end Model 700); new software improvements; and the IBM 9332 and IBM 9335 direct access storage devices.

Aug. 7
The 0067 Model 85 fixed disk drive is announced by the Rochester Storage independent business unit for use in the IBM RT Personal Computer.

 The Rochester lab develops the IBM 9332 hard disk file and 0667 hard disk file


Rochester is the largest SPD site, with more than 6,000 employees, and is responsible for the development and manufacture of small and intermediate systems -- the IBM System/36 family and the System/38 -- and low-end storage products and related programming.

The Rochester lab develops the IBM System/36 5363 system unit, 0669 hard disk file, and 0671 thin film hard disk file.

IBM pays more than $320 million to Minnesota suppliers for everything from cables and card assemblies to covers, frames and machine castings.


Jan. 28
The company establishes the Application Business Systems (ABS) line of business, and Rochester becomes the principal manufacturing and development site for ABS.

The Rochester lab develops the IBM Application System/400 (AS/400).

Jun. 21

 The company announces the AS/400.
The company announces the AS/400.

IBM Rochester is one of Minnesota's ten largest private sector employers, with about 6,600 employees. The main site is the equivalent of 76 football fields situated on 586 acres. It contains 32 buildings and 3.5 million square feet (and eight miles of corridors) -- the largest IBM facility in the world under one contiguous roof.

The average Rochester employee is 39.5 years old and a 14-year IBM veteran. The majority are from the U.S. Midwest, although employees hail from dozens of U.S. states and 15 countries. Nearly 40 percent of the employees are engineers or programmers; nearly 37 percent are in production, technical or administrative positions; the remainder are managers or other professionals.

Rochester is working with IBM's Programming Systems line of business in the area of software for the IBM System/3x-series and IBM AS/400 computers.


The Rochester lab is one of three IBM development facilities, and the plant is one of six IBM manufacturing facilities, around the world supporting the ABS line of business.

4-5 of 5 pages | Previous | Next